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his love, and that parents and friends stray spurs of the mountain-ranges of should believe that the kind Shepherd the Alleghanies. is folding the lamb in his own arms. What a river is the Hudson, in the
But now, amid these musings, the story of its discovery, its first settleboat has borne us out into the lake-like ments, its revolutionary memories, its Zee, on whose eastern shore nestles the sloop navigation, and then its steamboat unpretending but shrine-destined home exploits, its deep, wide waters, its giganof Irving, whose fame is wide as the tic Palisades, its once wild, uncultured world, and enduring as time and eter- banks, where the Indian roamed, its nity too.
now beauteous culture, with its palatial Here, the gentle, undulating banks of homes ! the river nearer its mouth, loom up into Without castles, indeed, gray with loftier hills and even precipitous cliffs, age, and toppling to the dust, to tell of until you enter the narrow channel the past of feudalism and fight, it has its which terminates the Zee, at Verplanck's better monuments, to speak for freePoint, and rounding into the Peekskill dom to worship God,' and to write, in its Bay, you find yourself, at once, in the present, the most brilliant promise of presence of the towering Highlands, the future.
The drops of rain
And purple stain.
And hath the grief
Brought forth no leaf?
I know to-day
The stone away,
And bade appear
For many a year.
So, when fair morn
For day new-born;
I do no less,
M AR Y
W I L M ER DIN Gs.
house backed by a hill- foam-that is all—flying back into the side, fringed with stately pines. A gar- dark. But delicate flowers bloom in the den, that suggested' a wilderness in black crevices which the stream wets every attribute but size, was the sole with spray, and far above, the rocky barrier that separated the house from walls are fringed with trees, and the the public road. The pine-crowned hill light of God pours down into the abyss, seemed to tower, like a sentinel, among telling the prisoned stream of the meadthe hosts of hills encamped around. A ows where it shall one day broaden its large town raised its cluster of steeples course in the yielding soil, and its turjust below. The river on which it lay, bulent flow be quieted till it spreads vexed by the wheels of the swarm of abroad, enriching all the land. factories, spread itself out to rest in a Five years ago it was, five years this quiet lake, a mile or two beyond. The very month, that she had stood here as magnificent life of June was throbbing now, looking over hill and valley, but among these green hills on the day of not as now, with sad eyes and sinking which I write—this day in the battle- heart. Then she was full of zeal; casummer of 1862.
pabilities as yet unmeasured stirred What says this affluence of life to the within her. True, a cherished hope girl who, leaning upon the low gate of had died in her heart, but she would the wilderness-garden, looks down the not sit down helplessly beside its grave. winding road towards the town? The opened broad before her: she would face is not expectant. There is a weary live it out bravely. droop in the eyelids, though the large She was restless with energies that gray eyes are earnest, and might be the usual round of sweeping, washing, loving. For the rest, a broad, low fore- and sewing could not keep down. She head, shaded with thick chestnut hair, longed for action in that world of which full of wavy brightness, comports well she saw glimpses, when she looked forth enough with the expression of the eyes. from her sheltered nook among the But the mouth is sadly at variance with hills. “Had God made no place for her the rest of the face. It was meant to in that world ?' she had asked earnestbe delicate, sensitive — the lip curls ly. She had tried among her longings easily even now; but habit has com- to be practical. Perhaps teaching was pressed it painfully. Its curves hint of her work—at all events she would try. firm endurance; its smiles have been It must be teaching in a city, too; she too infrequent.
thought the quiet of the country would She is not happy. You might read pain her. But there were difficulties to that in the very droop of her form, as be overcome. She was without influ. she stands there, her thin white hands ential friends, but she evinced the clasped nervously upon each other. strength and courage of a man in the Rather hard and cold has been the life ardor with which she bore down all obof Mary Wilmerdings. Barren, com- stacles. Her faith in herself exercised pared with the life she might have a strange magnetic influence, even upon chosen; but—God help us !—not many the matter-of-fact business men to whom of us can choose.
she applied. There lies the channel, narrow,
bed- She was successful. A situation was ded with rocks, it may be, pent between secured in a large school in a neighborunyielding walls, against which the un- ing city. For a time she was happy. tamed stream chafes in vain; a little It was something to be able to supply
her home with many comforts to give head and a weight at her heart. With to her young brother advantages for a far higher standard than those around which through childhood she had longed. her, she seemed to herself to fall short True, the wild, merry-hearted Charley of their attainments—the earnestness of did not appreciate them as she would her striving after success, the very have done-she felt that. She was alone tensity of her chagrin, when it was not in one sense in her own family-beloved attained, making the performance of the but not understood. Apparently, not task she had imposed upon herself the from either parent had she inherited her more impossible. She forced herself to peculiar temperament and mental en- go to the school-room in the morning bedowments. From some forgotten great- fore it was necessary, because, in the grandfather they had come, perhaps, as reäction to which she was subject, she streams flow underground, unsuspected hated the very sight of the place of her oftentimes, but by-and-by the water bub- trial, loathing the thought of the day's bles up, pure and clear, with all the pe- heavy tasks with a loathing that would culiar properties of the fountain, miles not be controlled. away, and mayhap unknown; and so You say her failing health induced people wonder that this spring should this state of mind. She had not that possess virtues unshared by neighbor- comfort, for she religiously believed ing wells.
that her mental suffering caused her As the life passed on that she had so physical ailments. The missionary, restriven to gain, Mary wondered at and linquishing all that awaited him at blamed herself for discontent. She home, to combat with darkness and ig. wearied of the routine. In school she norance in a distant land, rose to saintlooked forward eagerly to the end of the ship in her eyes. What had she, who term and the comparative freedom that fainted by the way, to do with the great awaited her in her home. Once there, throng of the world's benefactors who and the excitement of the glad welcome held out to the end ? Harder and hard. over, she was again conscious of the er grew the struggle. She had a faint presence of her old enemy. Her powers perception that influences from outside of endurance seemed to give way at were brought to bear upon her school, length. She had strange mental expe- which she was daily growing more weak riences; a belief haunted her that grad- to combat. She thought sometimes if ually, surely, the secret power was slip- she could throw off the sense of responping away from her that she had always sibility, the thought of the influence she wielded as a teacher. She struggled was exerting upon the impressible child. against it; but she could not blind her- ren committed to her charge, as her felself to the fact that, besides the mental low-teachers seemed to do, taking up torture that she was enduring, her phy. the burden, and throwing it down caresical strength was failing. In the midst lessly when the day's task was done, of this, whispers began to reach her of she might eventually conquer. As it dissatisfaction with her efforts. Some was, she saw no choice but to resign her of her patrons thought that ‘Miss Wil. position at the close of the term. merdings was losing her interest in the She came home in the new year of work. Stung to the quick, she rallied 1861, when all earnest women, as well all her forces to the encounter. Night as men, in our country had a heavy burafter night she lived over in a strange den to bear. Her personal trouble seemexcitement the scenes of the day, and ed nothing. She was ashamed to think fell asleep in the hope that the morrow of it when it was no longer forced upon should see the success of her carefully her; but she thought of her country's formed plans. But she awoke in the future till thinking was a pain, and then brightening dawn with a dull pain in her she prayed. None about her seemed to
feel the pressure with the intensity that mother had been to her - how all her she did; she wondered sometimes when little homely ways were stamped upon men raged about the interruption to ma- her heart. But she was reticent by naterial prosperity, as though that were ture. People said she bore her trouble the highest good — whether all patriot- well. None knew how, in the long loneism had died out in the children of ly nights that her mother lay in the those whose stern self-sacrifice had won dark, old-fashioned parlor, Mary's head our liberties. It seemed strange to her, had striven to bury itself, as of old, as she walked the busy streets of the in the mother-bosom ; how she had town, that the manufacturers bustled pressed to her heart the dead hands, about as usual, and the shop-keepers noting the marks of constant toil they smiled and bowed behind their counters bore; how passionately she had kissed in the same self-satisfied way as if the a small purple mark on one of them fate of the latest-born republic, the hope a slight bruise made accidentally a day of the staggering Old World, was not or two before, in performing some slight trembling in the balance. Now that we service for her! They buried her under have left those days so far behind, the the pines, behind the house. Her husapparent apathy that prevailed seems band would have it so. like the memory of a dream; but surely The grass was springing green upon. there was small token then of the bar- her grave when every one was startled vest of deeds of heroic self-sacrifice by the news of the nineteenth of April. which, far more than iron-clads or ma- Charley Wilmerdings came up from the terial resources, are the earnest of our town that night with a flush on his dark ultimate success in the great struggle cheek and a fire in his eye, that told of for national life through which we are excitement hitherto strange to the boy's passing
young frame. 'I'm going, Mary,' he The winter wore away while she la- said in a strange, husky voice. “Mr. bored night and day at the problem, see- Adams will keep my place for me till I ing no way to solve it but in the old come back my place as clerk, you way of blood and suffering. Had not know. Oh! I must go!' His sister's our civilization carried us beyond that? eye rested on him proudly for a moWas the law of Christ, prevailing to an ment; then the light went out as she extent among individuals, never to per- gasped : What will father say ?' She meate the masses ? Was there no pro- knew the boy was his pride — more to cess by which nations could adjust their him than both his daughters — and she differences, which should be more hu- dreaded the shock for the old man, who mane, more Christian, than throttling even now wandered aimlessly, many each other like bull-dogs? Sometimes times a day, to that newly-made grave when she lay awake in the early morn- under the pines. ing, it seemed like a disturbing dream "O Charley ! Charley! if I could only this national trouble and she imagined go in your place - your life is so much the ringing of bells and the jubilant more than mine!' And she glanced at shout which would peal from sea to sea, her father coming up the path, leading if the misguided States should see the little Rose. warning Hand stretched over them from Charley's lip trembled.
I know, the vaulted heavens, and return to their Mary; but think of those poor Massaallegiance.
chusetts fellows! mangled - dead - in But a sharper trouble came upon her; Baltimore, as dear to some one as I am pressed into her very soul. Her mother, to you and father! I shall be ashamed with only a few hours' illness, died. of myself as long as I live if I don't Never till she closed the blue cyes for go!' And the boy drew himself up ever, did Mary know how dear that proudly.
The old man heard his determination country-folk said, 'was a bit proud;' with a muttered exclamation that sound- they could not get on with her. “Mis ed like an oath ; his daughter knew it Wilmerdings, her mother, was of anwas a segment of a prayer. He was other sort — with a kind word for every broken down completely. The plan- body.' And so the girl, whose aching ning and preparation came upon Mary. heart was full of sympathy for her kind,
Months of anxious waiting, bright- was misjudged. Had she been happier, ened only by frequent letters from Char- she would have made herself felt in her ley, ensued. At last came the fearful true character. tidings of Bull Run; there was sorrow For weeks now she had been battling and trembling in many a home among with the inexorable question that met the New-England hills that Monday her at every turn: How was the money night. No more letters. A few days to be obtained to pay the interest on the after Mary saw the paper drop from her mortgage? It was easy enough to borfather's hand as he sunk back with an row, but she could not bring herself to inarticulate cry. Glancing at the list of do it unless she saw some prospect of the killed, she saw Charley's name. speedily liquidating the debt. Leaving The days crept on painfully after that. her father in his present state was not The old man would sit hours with his to be thought of; so she could not go head drooping on his hands; only little away and teach; besides, she still disRose seemed to have power to rouse
trusted herself. Much as she had sufhim. They heard nothing of the cir- fered, a different strain upon her energies cumstances of Charley's death; they had acted beneficially in one respect — knew not whether the boy was shot she had regained partially the strength down
among the fleeing, or whether he of nerve that had once characterized died bravely, as the old Wilmerdings her. Still she loathed the thought of blood would have prompted — his face fighting the battle over again in a strange to the foe.
school. All her plans narrowed themAfter the first few weeks the father selves down to this — whatever employseemed to rouse himself; the needful ment she attempted, she could not leave work of the farm was attended to; he her father and little sister. seemed to find solace in working hard The town, which seemed to lie just and long; perhaps the consciousness beneath the hillside, was really more that another cloud was gathering over than a mile distant. The principal facthem was the stimulus. The farm was tories were farther yet - more than two mortgaged, and the thought of the ac- miles away. The manufacturers were cumulating interest rested heavily, after only running their mills about seren a time, upon Mr. Wilmerdings and his hours a day. The long walks to-and-fro daughter. Her savings, carefully hus- she had thought she could easily endure, banded as they had been, were now it would only take her away a part of nearly exhausted. On the June day every day. Her pride winced here; but with which our story opens, affairs at she put it down manfully. Better facthe Hill Farm seemed to have reached a tory-work, if she could do it well, than crisis; a week more, and unless the the experience of her last three months money were paid, the old man and his in teaching, two daughters were homeless.
But a new difficulty met her - she It was not generally known; they would have as soon fired a gun as put were hardly on intimate terms now with in motion the machinery of a loom. It their neighbors ; Mrs. Wilmerdings, was deplorable; she despised herself for with her cheery, kindly ways, had been the weakness. She remembered her the link that bound the family to the visits to the mills in her childhood, and social life around them. "Mary,' the the horror they had inspired. She had